Pretoria - Government officials gathered in Pretoria City Hall on Thursday to pay tribute to the late Public Service and Administration Minister, Roy Padayachie.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa described Padayachie as a humble, gallant fighter for freedom of the oppressed and champion of the poor in South Africa.
"The country has indeed lost a fine revolutionary intellectual," said Mthethwa at the memorial service.
He said Padayachie distinguished himself as a scholar, disciplined cadre and builder in everything he did.
"The death of comrade Roy occasioned the sad loss of an intellectual who radiated an unfailing commitment and devotion to the struggle for freedom. Our country has been blessed with some quite outstanding persons, Radhakrishna Roy Padayachie was one such," he said.
Padayachie passed away two weeks ago while attending the African Peer Review Mechanism meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mthethwa said South Africans can be consoled by the fact that the nation was now free because of his contribution.
"An African hero has died. The name Radhakrishna Roy Padayachie will go down in the annals of history as a man of immense integrity, intellectual capacity, unrelenting in his determination to follow his own destiny, and on behalf of the voiceless, but always a gentleman," the minister said.
Mthethwa cited the enormous contribution Padayachie made to the struggle against racism and oppression in the country.
"His memory should make us redouble our efforts to achieve a life of dignity, free of bigotry and intolerance, for people around us and beyond."
The memorial service was attended by senior government officials, among others, including the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
In his address, Ramokgopa described Padayachie as a man who dedicated all his life to fighting for the poor.
"He was a great combatant," he said.
Also speaking was Trevana Moodley, Padayachie's daughter who told mourners that it was hard for the family accept the loss.
"His death has left us with sadness."
She described him as a loving family man, who was dedicated to ensuring a better life for all South Africans.
Colleagues in Parliament described the late Padayachie as an able and hard-working member who was always responsive and available to engage.
Padayachie's body was cremated last Wednesday in Durban.